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Democratic debate: Candidates clash onstage in Atlanta

At the Democratic debate in Atlanta, candidates clashed and sometimes mocked rivals, and pleaded to voters to help them get on the next debate stage.

California Sen. Kamala Harris went after Rep. Tulsi Gabbard after the Hawaii congresswoman stood by her previous criticism of Hillary Clinton, whom she had called a “personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party.”

“I think that it’s unfortunate that we have someone on this stage who is attempting to be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States who, during the Obama administration, spent four years full time on Fox News criticizing President Obama,” Harris said.

The battle over “Medicare for all” arose as South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg raised the issue unprompted, arguing that his policy of “Medicare for all who want it” would be something the American people could unify around. It was a swipe at progressive rivals, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, pushing a more expansive public healthcare system.

Buttigieg, who has been rising in polling, faced attacks — first gentle, then less so — from his rivals over his experience. And former Vice President Joe Biden faced mockery from New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker over his description of marijuana as “a gateway drug.”

The debate started about an hour after a dramatic day of public hearings in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump wrapped up in Washington. The impeachment proceedings dominated the start of the debate. Candidates condemned the president’s actions in the Ukraine scandal. “We have a criminal living in the White House,” Harris said.

Here’s what happened at the Democratic debate: